This story of the feisty Ford females of Dagenham has had a quick progression from movie to musical, and has made an even quicker transfer to Norwich from the West End.
Performed here by the Norfolk Youth Music Theatre in the first amateur production of the show in the east, it tells the story of Rita O’Grady and her striking co-workers, who took on the powers that be in their fight for fair treatment in 1968.
Ellen Smith takes the lead role of Rita, perfectly capturing the determined machinist come rabble rouser with fine voice and convincing emotion.
Josh Hinds is her supportive husband Eddie, and has good tone when he trusts himself to use it.
There are delicious supporting roles from Emma Seamarks and Jack Rushworth as Barbara Castle and Harold Wilson – sharing the best comic lines – and Lydia Whiting is a delight as the ditzy Clare.
At two and a half hours this a is long show, and the 38-strong company do a great job keeping it moving and engaging – in fact they do a better job keeping up than the audience, who missed half the jokes in the densely witty script.
The music, by David Arnold, is packed full of sixties swing, and performed by a tight live eight piece.
Social history and singing might not be obvious companions, but the Norfolk Youth Music Theatre company have definitely made it in Norwich.